Rapid HIV disease progression following superinfection in an HLA-B*27:05/B*57:01-positive transmission recipient.17 Jan 2018
BACKGROUND: The factors determining differential HIV disease outcome among individuals expressing protective HLA alleles such as HLA-B*27:05 and HLA-B*57:01 remain unknown. We here analyse two HIV-infected subjects expressing both HLA-B*27:05 and HLA-B*57:01. One subject maintained low-to-undetectable viral loads for more than a decade of follow up. The other progressed to AIDS in < 3 years. RESULTS: The rapid progressor was the recipient within a known transmission pair, enabling virus sequences to be tracked from transmission. Progression was associated with a 12% Gag sequence change and 26% Nef sequence change at the amino acid level within 2 years. Although next generation sequencing from early timepoints indicated that multiple CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) escape mutants were being selected prior to superinfection, < 4% of the amino acid changes arising from superinfection could be ascribed to CTL escape. Analysis of an HLA-B*27:05/B*57:01 non-progressor, in contrast, demonstrated minimal virus sequence diversification (1.1% Gag amino acid sequence change over 10 years), and dominant HIV-specific CTL responses previously shown to be effective in control of viraemia were maintained. Clonal sequencing demonstrated that escape variants were generated within the non-progressor, but in many cases were not selected. In the rapid progressor, progression occurred despite substantial reductions in viral replicative capacity (VRC), and non-progression in the elite controller despite relatively high VRC. CONCLUSIONS: These data are consistent with previous studies demonstrating rapid progression in association with superinfection and that rapid disease progression can occur despite the relatively the low VRC that is typically observed in the setting of multiple CTL escape mutants.